Inexplicably curious, I recently asked my faithful manservant Standish how the peasants deal with their pain and suffering, as they must have it in abundance. Standish said that people take their minds off their troubles by ingesting large quantities of alcoholic spirits and pharmaceutical compounds such as morphine or quinine, by fornicating with street-walkers, and by attending the vaude-ville amusements. He also said the moving-picture business has enjoyed much success of late.
"Pictures that move? By what means, Standish? An enormous zoetrope, or magic-lantern, mayhaps?" I queried.
"Neither, sir," he replied. "The photo-graphs are displayed in rapid sequence so as to evoke the illusion of movement, and with the use of an electro-powered illuminative apparatus are conveyed onto a large broad-cloth. Such images are shown nightly at the village theatre."
My usually numb extremities were flush with excitement. "Organize a raid on this theatre," I ordered, "and procure these moving-daguerreotypes with all deliberate speed, so that I may view them myself to-night!"
My private amuse-ment annex was decorated with colorful buntings and magnolia-boughs for the singular occasion. My opera-glasses were brought out of storage, and my top-hat brushed to a brilliant gloss. A gay night at the moving-daguerreotypes for me!
Sadly, it was a great disappointment, once the novelty of the life-like motion wore off. The evening's entertainment was an incoherent and vexing tale, presenting a jungle full of fierce reptiles, ladies immodestly clad in men's trousers, and random slayings of assorted ladies and gentlemen. Soon I could no longer bear another moment of the abomination. I ordered Standish to remove it from my sight post-haste, and to burn it and all other moving-daguerreotypes in existence in the estate court-yard.
I trust this was done, as I myself observed the licking flames of the conflagration. You people who have heretofore enjoyed the moving-daguerreotype presentations will simply have to find other ways to amuse yourself. Perhaps croquet could fill the void.
T. Herman Zweibel, the great grandson of Onion founder Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, was born in 1868, became editor of The Onion at age 20, and persisted in various editorial posts until his launching into space in 2001. Zweibel's name became synonymous with American business success in the 20th century. Many consider him the “Father Of American Journalism,” also the title of his well-known 1943 biography, written by Norman Rombauer.